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“I don’t care,” said the boy to himself. “Anything for a change. I do get so tired of this humdrum steaming here and steaming there, and going into port to fill up the coal-bunkers. Being at sea isn’t half so jolly as I used to think it was, and it is so cold. Wish we could get orders to sail to one of those beautiful countries in the East Indies, or to South America—anywhere away from these fogs and rains. Why, we haven’t seen the sun for a week.”
He went forward, to rest his arms on the bulwark and look out to sea. The sight was not tempting. The mouth of the Mersey is not attractive on a misty day, and the nearest land aft showed like a low-down dirty cloud. Away on the horizon there was a long thick trail of smoke being left behind by some outward-bound steamer, and running his eyes along the horizon he caught sight of another being emitted from one of two huge funnels which were all that was visible of some great Atlantic steamer making for the busy port.
Nearer in there were two more vessels, one that he made out to be a brig, and that was all.
“Ugh!” ejaculated the boy. “I wish—I wish—What’s the use of wishing? One never gets what one wants. Whatever are we going to do to-night? It must mean smuggling. Well, there will be something in that. Going aboard some small boat and looking at the skipper’s papers, and if they are not right putting somebody on board and bringing her into port. But there won’t be any excitement like one reads about in books. It’s a precious dull life coming to sea.”
Fitz Burnett sighed and waited, for the evening was closing in fast, and then he began to brighten in the expectation of the something fresh that was to take place that night. But knowing that it might be hours before they started, he waited—and waited—and waited.
There is an old French proverb which says, Tout vient à point à qui sait attendre, and this may be roughly interpreted, “Everything comes to the man who waits.” Let’s suppose that it comes to the boy.